Shire ready for second crack at Annan

John Sludden hopes for a repeat performance but better result
John Sludden hopes for a repeat performance but better result

As well as they played last weekend East Stirlingshire boss John Sludden knows his team will probably have to raise their game again on Saturday if they want to beat Annan Athletic and reach the third round of the Scottish Cup.

The two teams will meet at Ochilview in a second round replay after a 0-0 draw at 
Galabank.

Sludden had every right to be pleased with his team’s performance in the first game but knows the re-match will be just as, if not more, difficult for his players against Jim 
Chapman’s League 2 team.

“We haven’t achieved anything yet,” he said. “We came out of the game on Saturday with a lot of praise but we know this Saturday we need to find that little bit extra to get the win and take us into the next round of the cup.

“I spoke to Jim Chapman after the game I know he will be drilling into his players to start the game better. We know it will be another hard game.”

Shire had by far the better of the opening 45 minutes at Galabank and might have been ahead at the interval. However, they had to deal with a stronger display from their hosts in the second period.

Not many would argue with the final outcome but Shire are still maybe rueing those missed scoring opportunities in the opening part of the match.

They would much rather be contemplating a third round tie having secured an away win than taking their chances on a second bite at the cherry.

That’s not lost on Sludden who admits the test at Ochilview could be an even tougher one than in the weekend 
draw.

“They will be hurting,” he said of Shire’s SPFL opponents who went into last week’s game as favourites. “They felt they didn’t play well. But maybe that’s because the other team didn’t allow them to. Sometimes you have to give the opposition credit.”

Shire do at least have the comfort of some excellent home form of late; they’ve won five and drawn one of their last six games at Ochilview.

Saturday’s shut out was the fourth successive match in which they have prevented their opponents from scoring a goal and the only time goalkeeper Jamie Barclay has been beaten in their last five outings was from the penalty spot.